Reinhart Paper Conventions

With the advent of the computer, students regularly ask about the display settings and other aspects of writing and producing papers.

Herewith are a few suggestions for writing papers for Reinhart's classes.

First: Please, pay attention to the assignment. Be certain you know what is being asked of you. If you are uncertain, by all means force the instructor to clarify his questions for you. If you do not, he is not responsible for your misapprehensions.

In assignments, a page, by convention, is 250 words. So a four-page paper will be 1000 words. Run the word-count function of your word processor to determine how many pages your paper contains. (It's a good idea to write roughly 1/4 more than assigned, then cut out the flabby and the unnecessary in your prose.)


Display is not a crucial part of the paper, provided the paper is readable and not intended to deceive.

Generally, one-inch margins all around, a serif font (Times, New Century Schoolbook) 12 or 14 point type are fine.

To emphasize headings and subsections in boldface is helpful.

Use smart quotes (“ ” and ‘ ’, not " and ').

You must paginate!


I prefer footnotes to endnotes and I do not care for social science (embedded) citations at all, unless the assignment is a text study or critical essay on a single source, in which case embedded page numbers (22) for "Weber, Protestant Ethic page 22," are fine.

Footnotes may either fully cite the source, (author, title, journal or publication information), and thereafter cite by briefer reference (Author, title: e.g. Weber, Protestant Ethic) or you may use the brief reference form throughout, and append a complete bibliography.

Help me grade your paper!

I prefer to grade papers in ignorance of who wrote them. (You should remember always that it is the paper, not you, that is being graded.) Therefore, if possible, please attach a cover sheet with your name, course, and the usual information, and do not place your name elsewhere in the paper.

This way I can turn the cover page under, and grade the paper blind.

Please staple, the top left corner (paper clips tend to come off; buy a small stapler and carry it around).
The printout coversheets from Kiewit are not acceptable coversheets!


If you cannot be bothered to read your paper, how can you expect your reader to read it? Correction of minor errors by pen is fine.
Papers with three egregious errors will be returned to you for correction.

I will cease commenting on the paper at the point of the third error.

Papers clearly not spellchecked will be returned for revision, and will not be commented upon.

Late Papers

Papers are due at the beginning of class—not at five or ten minutes after class has begun. Those will be late papers.

Allow for printing queues, disk failures and the like. Part of learning to use technology is remembering its limitations.

Late papers decline a grade (e.g. from A to A-) each day they are late.

Late papers get no comments.


In comments, "awk" means "awkward" "ww" means "wrong word."

In grading B/B- is higher than B-/B.


It is difficult sometimes to remember, but throughout your Dartmouth career bear in mind that the assignment is provided to help with the business of the class–learning about the topic at hand. It is to be enjoyed. It is not designed as hoop or hairshirt, ordeal, or rite of passage.

Your grade is one thing (and not an unimportant one). Still, the pleasure and profit of a paper can be something much greater than any grade can reflect.

The Honor Principle

Dartmouth students are bound by the honor principle, which obliges each student not to cheat, and obliges students to take action when they know of cheating. Cheating includes collaboration, unless authorized, use of sources without adequate citation, and the use of ideas without citation.

While on the COS I have observed that the single most prominent factor in honor code violations was beginning a paper the night before it was due.

A word to the wise...